Freeballer
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investment $$ for electronics newb?

Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:23 pm

maybe this is a fairly open ended question, but I'm wondering what kind of equipment a newcommer
would need to tinker with the gpio boards, breadboards, etc...? I'm wondering if a person needs something more than some time and a solder iron? There are plenty of projects/how-to's and I'd eventually like to have one raspberry pi as a home automation system.

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Burngate
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:55 am

Breadboard(s)
Decent soldering iron, decent meter.
Vice or similar to hold boards while you're working on them
magnifier-lamp http://www.maplin.co.uk/22w-fluorescent ... lamp-47980
Cutters, pliers.

Goody-bag of resistors, capacitors, LEDs, ...

Germoline & sticking plaster for when you grab the wrong end of the iron
Torch to help find that resistor you dropped on the floor under the desk

Freeballer
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:21 pm

awesome! I've always wondered if it required an osciliscope, or something more expensive.
I have a decent iron, and meter. So a few odds and ends, and some first aid and I should be ok.

I've always wondered, but I thought it'd be a stupid question & probably wouldn't get replied

Thank you

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rurwin
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:46 pm

Germoline & sticking plaster
Nah. Stick it under the cold tap until you can't bear it any longer, or ten minutes if you're iron man. It only hurts for two hours.

And remember; no matter how expensive the carpet is, don't try to catch a falling soldering iron. Don't try to blow molten solder off a board either.

An oscilloscope and a signal generator are very useful bits of kit, but you will only need them for about ten minutes a year. They certainly are not necessary when you are just getting started.

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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:46 am

Illuminated magnifier makes a big difference to soldering but buy a good one with a ring fluorescent lamp. The cheap ones with a tungsten lamp are useless.
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meltwater
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:22 am

If you don't wear glasses, I would also recommend safety glasses... Hot solder and eyes are not a helpful mix and it is all too easy to flick bits.
Most soldering iron burns are fairly mild as long as your reflexes are reasonable (either that or my skin has become slightly ceramic).

Overall, you shouldn't need a lot of kit.
Soldering Iron with a fine tip
Multi-meter
Wire Cutters
Pin Nose Pilers
Scalpel

A wire solder iron cleaner is very useful:
Image

A well lit and ventilated area is ideal, with a surface which isn't going to burn.

Stripboard is great for most small projects, I tend to use lots of pin connectors so that I can wire up different modules and single core wire to plug them together. I've also used proto-type board (single solder pads not joined together) but not a massive fan (the wiring ends up far messier) but in some cases it is less complicated.

Wonder if a MagPi article would be helpful, I almost wrote one on this for Issue 3 or 4.

Although an oscilloscope is useful, they are very expensive (unless you can borrow one), but putting good debugging and testing things as you go, you can avoid the need for one in most cases.
Of course, now I looked to see what options are out there and this is tempting!
http://www.gabotronics.com/development- ... otolab.htm
Image
May look into the various options, since something basic may help for some things.
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rurwin
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:55 am

That looks lovely, and at $49 I'm seriously tempted.

If it's display mode is non-volatile, it would make a nice display board for some interesting projects.

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meltwater
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:04 am

rurwin wrote:That looks lovely, and at $49 I'm seriously tempted.

If it's display mode is non-volatile, it would make a nice display board for some interesting projects.
It is OLED, I think they said around 50mA (depending on lit pixels).
Black friday sale today, although in the uk too from http://www.coolcomponents.co.uk

They even give a useful comparison table of other low cost options - which I think is rather decent of them.
http://www.gabotronics.com/resources/ho ... scopes.htm
It clearly has major limits on samples and frequency, but also spotted an Android app for interfacing and display...
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:09 am

Also worth considering a metal "solder sucker" to make corrections and adjustments. If you are using strip board a "spot cutter" is really useful. Luckily these things are not expensive.
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meltwater
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:28 am

MattHawkinsUK wrote:Also worth considering a metal "solder sucker" to make corrections and adjustments. If you are using strip board a "spot cutter" is really useful. Luckily these things are not expensive.
Braided Solder wick is quite good too, I find that is often easier to use than the solder suckers. Both excellent though for those oops moments.
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Freeballer
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Re: investment $$ for electronics newb?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:36 am

I think I have a small shopping trip todo lol
I've needed a good wire cutter for a while anyways but the rest isn't that much.
I have a 15/25w "pencil" style iron. Its probably not the best but it should work.

We have mostly hardwood floors where I'm living and I have a fire extinguisher
in the four corners of the house as well. I need glasses for any small work, but its a good idea.
I'd had some solder spray on me before, hate for that to be in face/eyes

I love the idea of a "portable" tool like that Xprotolab. That is VERY cool

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